Mom, Please Don’t Put My Picture on Facebook.

Please don't put my picture on Facebook

My family recently joined Costco. I know, I know. We’re a little late jumping on that bandwagon. On a recent shopping trip, both kids were pretty good in the store so we stopped to have a cheap, satisfying pizza dinner before we left. We sat at one of the tables in full view of Costco customers checking out and making their way to the door with their bulk of treasures. Because our city is really just a small town, of the few times we’ve been in that store, 100% of the visits we’ve run into someone we know. One of my husband’s parent’s friends stopped by to say hello. After my husband and I exchanged niceties with her, she then directed her full attention to my daughter (six years old), addressed her by name and said, “I just love watching you grow up on Facebook!” She showered her with other completely innocent, sincere compliments, smiled and left. My daughter was noticeably uncomfortable. She didn’t know this woman. I don’t think she’d ever seen the woman before. Pretty articulate for a six year-old, my daughter was able to voice what bothered her about the conversation. It was an invasion of her privacy.

Whoa.

This nice woman was a friend of her grandparents. Proud grandparents share photos of their beautiful grandchildren with their friends … on Facebook. Almost everyone shares. These babies we have become less ours each day. They become themselves – but people that have lived almost their entire lives online through the eyes of their parents, their grandparents, and proud friends – without knowing it, without their consent.

I’m a proud parent. I *love* taking pictures of my children, documenting our every day, acting as our little family’s historian in a way that was never this convenient when I was growing up. I can keep up with family that isn’t so near and friends that would have sadly otherwise lost touch. I PARTICIPATE. But I want to do it in a way that will not cause any harm, however slight.

After a discussion with our daughter about what can become of a picture of her on Facebook, she asked us not to put any more pictures of her up on the medium – except with her permission. So, we’ll abide by that. This goes for the grandparents, too. (That conversation was a little uncomfortable.)

This line is tricky – the line that separates your child from “your baby” and “the other person in your house” – and it seems that you don’t find it until you trip over it. (Or maybe that’s just me.) There are so many other facets to this discussion – because it’s a BIG discussion. I saw an article written on the Today Parents site titled, Kids worry about parents oversharing on social media, study finds. There’s even mention of France’s strict privacy laws making way for children to sue their parents for oversharing!

What age do YOU think it is appropriate to stop sharing/over-sharing about your children?

Check out some of this info:

Dear Parents, ‘Sharenting’ Is Ruining Your Kids’ Lives
Read This Before Posting Pictures of Your Kids on Facebook
And then, there’s someone having fun with the oversharing: STFU, Parents.

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11 Responses to Mom, Please Don’t Put My Picture on Facebook.

  1. Kelly Dahl June 24, 2016 at 2:54 am #

    I’m not a parent but if I was I would not post pictures of my young children online because of the dangers out there. Someone stealing the pictures for who knows what, potential target for them to kidnap my child and so on. I am going to save your article and post it on my fb wall so my neighbor can see this. She has her fb wide open and tons of pics of her baby daughter. I don’t think it’s my business to tell her directly for fear of losing the nice friendship so I will do it covertly. Thank You for bringing this up!

    • Kristen
      Kristen June 24, 2016 at 11:40 am #

      Kelly,

      I don’t think this issue is black and white – it is definitely a great discussion to have with family and friends and even with the child as he/she ages. I think it’s an individual decision, but one in which we should involve our children. This is arguably the first generation to live their life online (without their permission).

  2. Besi June 28, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

    We laid the ground rule very early that there were to be no pictures of our daughter on ANY social media. As time goes on I’m more and more confident in that decision, this makes it more.

  3. Amy June 28, 2016 at 11:38 pm #

    Kelly-
    1) A gentle heads up, there’s not a single parent in existence who doesn’t now cringe at all the things we were or weren’t going to do when we became parents.
    2) I promise you if you don’t have kids and share, pretty much all of your FB friends who do will notice and be annoyed at your not-so-subtle & def unsolicited parenting “wisdom”, your neighbor included. Whether they say anything or not has nothing to do w it, they will be annoyed.

  4. Jaime June 29, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    I post pictures of my kids for out of town family. I have my permissions set so only friends can see things.

    However, I think we are being too sensitive here. I grew up in a church with 500 members from birth and I was always having people that I didn’t personally know come up to me and say – I changed your diaper as a baby – look how big you’re getting – your mom showed me the picture of your art trophy how wonderful! – it was a little embarrassing because I didn’t know these people but they watched me grow up in the church and my mom took photos to choir practice and such.

    It happens to every kid – even before Facebook it did. I turned out fine without any privacy related trauma. Proud parents have done this since the invention of the camera.

  5. Frances June 29, 2016 at 10:30 am #

    This wasn’t an issue when I was growing up but is now. Parents are responsible for their children’s exposure. I still share some pictures on my Facebook but the more private pictures I post to an online journal called Tiny Beans. ( https://tinybeans.com/) We’ve given access to close friends and family only. Social media is fun but it’s also scary. You can make your fb private but your friends profile might not be private therefore exposing your kids to people you don’t know.

  6. Susannah June 29, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

    I Feel it’s a personal choice. I post pictures because our family is scattered across the US. Facebook is one of the easiest ways our family can connect. I do not post their names or school they attend. I am also careful with what kind of pictures I post. I have a friend who does not want pictures posted of her children and I respect that, but to those who would not post pictures, please do not look down on those of us who do.

  7. Mea June 30, 2016 at 4:58 pm #

    It’s highly personal. Some people choose to, some don’t. We choose to not even mention our children’s names on social media. Clearly, those who choose to post pictures of their children have their reasons, and it’s their business.

  8. NOLAMama425 June 30, 2016 at 9:18 pm #

    Just curious if the kid in this photo gave his written consent for his photo to be used. *wink wink.

  9. Jennifer Akin September 1, 2016 at 10:09 am #

    I agree with this wise 6 year old. Since my twins were babies, I don’t post their face online. We do some back aimed photos occasionally because they are part of my life but never any detailed photos. We have no clue what impact this has on a generation of kids we are raising. Plus, everyday there is a new scam or online pervert. I’m not putting my kids out there, even with FB’s always changing privacy settings set tightly. They sometimes do some wacky update making my profile public or hiding my posts. I don’t trust it. Not with my children.

    I email updates to out of town family and close friends. That is how they get updates from me. Not on social media.

  10. Rachael July 11, 2017 at 7:42 am #

    I have to agree with Susannah. It’s not a matter of what’s right or wrong because it’s such a gray area. And since it’s not a question of morality or ethics no one is any position to judge another person’s choices.

    But in thinking about our children and grand children’s privacy it’s probably a good sanity to check to imagine yourself being in that photo. If you look back on your baby albums and cringe at some of the photos or died from embarrassment when your parents showed them to a significant other then maybe take a second look at similar pictures you post of your child.

    Once a child is old enough to grasp the concept of social media and the sharing process it’s probably a really good time to talk about parameters of what’s acceptable in his/her eyes to post. Before then it is literally your choice as a parent and we all do the best we can for them.

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